– by Al Bawaba
In a joint statement issued late Saturday by the governments of the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy, the group threatened sanctions against violent parties in Libya if a ceasefire and negotiation process is not implemented.
“We stand ready to use individual sanctions in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2174 against those who threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya or obstruct or undermine the political process,” the statement said.
The resolution was unanimously adopted by the five permanent members of the Security Council, and all 10 rotating members on August 27. It calls for an end to the fighting between the government and multiple rebel groups, an inclusive dialogue, and prior notice regarding weapons transfers.
In Saturday’s statement, the group said they “strongly condemn the ongoing violence in Libya and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
“We are particularly dismayed that after meetings in Ghadames and Tripoli, parties have not respected calls for a ceasefire,” they noted.
“We condemn the crimes of Ansar al-Sharia entities, and the ongoing violence in communities across Libya, including Tripoli and its environs. Libya’s hard fought freedom is at risk if Libyan and international terrorist groups are allowed to use Libya as a safe haven,” the statement said.
“We are also concerned by (ex-military general) Khalifa Hifter’s attacks in Benghazi. We consider that Libya’s security challenges and the fight against terrorist organizations can only be sustainably addressed by regular armed forces under the control of a central authority, which is accountable to a democratic and inclusive parliament,” the group affirmed.
The five nations said they “fully support” the work of the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Bernardino Leon, “and urge all parties to cooperate with his efforts.” Leon is the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which was established in 2011 “at the request of the Libyan authorities following six months of armed conflict to support the country’s new transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts.
“After the Ghadames and Tripoli meetings, negotiations should be pursued with goodwill and adopting inclusive policies, with the aim of finding an agreement on the location of the House of Representatives elected last June 25th and laying the foundations for a Government of National Unity,” the group said.
“We agree that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis,” they added. “We stress the importance that the international community acts in a united manner on Libya on the basis of the principles and understandings agreed at recent meetings, namely in New York and Madrid.”
The statement also warned against interference from outside parties, and urged “all partners to refrain from actions which might exacerbate current divisions in order to let Libyans address the current crisis within the framework of UN-facilitated talks.” According to UN figures, some 287,000 people have had to flee due to the fighting in and around the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli, leading to a “critical” humanitarian situation.
Libya has been in a state of upheaval since its former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed three years ago.